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6/6/2003 3:31:05 PM
Home School Legal Defense Association
New York--State College Policy Discriminates Against Homeschoolers; Calls Needed

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From the HSLDA E-lert Service...
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June 6, 2003

Dear HSLDA Members and Friends,

Do you want your child to have the option of going to college in New
York someday? Do want his homeschool diploma to mean something?

Then please contact your Board of Regents member to help stop the
unnecessary discrimination against homeschool graduates seeking
admission to colleges in New York.

Starting this past year, New York is the only state with a statewide
policy requiring homeschool graduates to obtain a GED or a letter of
recognition from their local public school district to gain admission
to college. Homeschoolers already in college must now pass GED test
to graduate!

Let's stop this discrimination by informing the Board of Regents who
govern the college system in New York and asking them to change this
policy.

REQUESTED ACTION

Please contact your Board of Regent and the at-large members and
deliver this message:

"Please rescind the newly enforced policy issued by the Deputy
Commissioner of Higher Education (Oct. 11, 2002) regarding homeschool
graduates seeking admission to college and financial aid. This policy
discriminates against students with homeschool diplomas and forces
them to obtain a letter of recognition from the public school (who
usually do not give these letters) or obtain a GED. A GED carries
the stigma of a drop out; homeschool graduates are high school
graduates."

Write or call the Board of Regents below:

Robert M. Bennett, Chancellor - Allegany, Cattaraugus, Chautauqua,
Erie, Genesee, Niagara, Orleans and Wyoming
201 Millwood Lane
Tonawanda, NY 14150
Phone: (716) 694-6783

Adelaide L. Sanford, Vice Chancellor - At Large
New York State Education Department
55 Hanson Place
Brooklyn, NY 11217-1580
Phone: (718) 722-2807

Diane O'Neill McGivern - Kings and Richmond
95 West Entry Road, Country Club Grounds
Staten Island, NY 10304
Phone: (718) 667-6334

Saul B. Cohen - At Large
82 Taymil Road
New Rochelle, NY 10804
Phone: (914) 633-7889

James C. Dawson - Clinton, Essex, Franklin, Fulton, Hamilton,
Montgomery, St. Lawrence, Saratoga, Schenectady, Warren and
Washington
2 Birchwood Drive
Peru, NY 12972
Phone: (518) 643-9289

Robert M. Johnson - Nassau and Suffolk
2 Skunk Hollow Road
Huntington, NY 11743
Phone: (212) 229-7200

Anthony S. Bottar - Herkimer, Jefferson, Lewis, Oneida, Onondaga, and
Oswego
407 South Warren Street
Syracuse, NY 13202
Phone: (315) 422-3466

Merryl H. Tisch - At Large
9 East 79th Street
New York, N.Y. 10021
Phone: (212) 879-9414

Geraldine Chapey, - Queens
107-10 Shore Front Parkway, Apt. 9C
Belle Harbor, NY 11694
Phone: (718) 634-8471

Arnold B. Gardner - At Large
120 Delaware Avenue
Buffalo, N.Y. 14202
Phone: (716) 845-6000

Harry Phillips III - Dutchess, Orange, Putnam, Rockland and
Westchester
71 Hawthorne Way
Hartsdale, NY 10530
Phone: (914) 948-2228

Joseph E. Bowman, Jr.- Albany, Columbia, Greene, Rensselaer,
Schoharie, Sullivan and Ulster
ED 124, School of Education, University at Albany
1400 Washington Avenue
Albany, NY 12222
Phone: (518) 442-4987

Lorraine A. Cortes-Vazquez - Bronx
130 William Street, 9th Floor
Manhattan, N.Y. 10038
Phone (212) 233-8955

Judith O. Rubin Judicial District I - New York
911 Park Avenue
New York, NY 10021
Phone (212) 535-6942

James R. Tallon, Jr - Broome, Chemung, Chenango, Cortland, Delaware,
Madison, Otsego, Schuyler, Tioga, Tompkins
United Hospital Fund, Empire State Building
350 Fifth Avenue, 23rd Floor
New York, N.Y. 10118-0110
Phone (212) 494-0777

Milton L. Cofield - Cayuga, Livingston, Monroe, Ontario, Seneca,
Steuben, Wayne, Yates
98 Hickory Ridge Road
Rochester, N.Y. 14625
Phone (585) 248-8494

BACKGROUND

Beginning in the 2002-03 school year, homeschoolers are seeing an
increase in discrimination as a result of the implementation of a
previously dormant New York State Education Department policy. This
policy is preventing colleges from recognizing a 9-12 grade
homeschool education as being sufficient to enroll in either a State
University of New York or community college.

The Board of Regents Rule causing the most trouble at this time, is
found in section 3.47(a) of Chapter 1 of Title 8, which states: "no
earned degree shall be conferred unless the candidate has had a
preliminary education of at least a four year high school course, or
its equivalent, as determined by the Commissioner. Satisfactory
evidence of such preliminary education must be offered before
beginning the course of study for the degree."

This means a private diploma issued by the parent, which millions of
homeschool students across the U.S. receive, is not recognized by the
state of New York. The Deputy Commissioner of Higher Education has
issued a policy statement Oct. 2002 saying a homeschooler must
produce either a GED, a letter from their school district recognizing
the legitimacy of their academic program, or they must enroll in a
special GED program that requires completion of 24 specific credit
hours in college.

Homeschoolers often do not want to obtain a GED since it carries with
it the stigma of a dropout. Homeschoolers are not dropouts; they are
completing a full high school education. In addition, most school
districts refuse to provide any such documentation because of the
liabilities involved. They will not recognize any homeschool program
as sufficient, even if the family has followed the requirements of
the law. The "special" GED option is difficult for many homeschool
students who do not want to take all of the 24 credit hours required.
This makes it difficult for them to complete their majors in fields
other than those covered by the 24 credit hours.

Homeschoolers are also facing colleges who refuse to grant them
financial aid, even though they are completely eligible. Although
there are some state-specific grants and financial aid monies
available governed by state law, many of these colleges are violating
the federal Higher Education Act, which clearly states that any
student who "has completed a high school education in a homeschool
setting" is eligible for federal financial aid. The U.S. Department
of Education allows for homeschoolers to self-certify their
homeschool diplomas. Colleges should ask no further questions and
place no additional obstacles before homeschoolers seeking financial
aid.

The Home School Legal Defense Association has represented many
homeschool graduates who are refused entry into state colleges. All
studies done at this point show that homeschoolers generally score
above average on standardized achievement tests in both elementary
and secondary levels. Furthermore, studies completed at universities
show that homeschool graduates have higher grade point averages than
graduates from traditional schools. This demonstrates only one thing:
homeschooling works.

We are working with Rich and Pam Stauter and Patti Ownes of New
York's Loving Education At Home (LEAH) to resolve this. I have
drafted legislation which will be introduced next year to change this
discriminatory policy. Also LEAH, lobbyist Duane Motley, and I have
met with the Deputy Commissioner of Education and others to inform
him of the current discrimination against homeschoolers. They have
indicated an interest in resolving this problem.

State universities and community colleges in New York should be open
to all students. Thanks for standing with us for freedom!

Sincerely,

Chris Klicka
HSLDA Senior Counsel

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